Agreement due to  be signed for IKEA store in Loulé

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Swedish furniture group IKEA and Loulé Câmara were due to sign a cooperation agreement yesterday (Thursday), paving the way for the Algarve’s first IKEA store.

The company originally announced its intention to open a store and a shopping centre in Loulé more than a year ago.

IKEA’s Ana Teresa told Lusa news agency: “This confirms our intention to undertake this project in the Algarve by 2015.”

The agreement was due to be signed at Loulé City Hall, attended by Loulé Mayor Seruca Emídio, the Manager of IKEA in Portugal, Kristina Johansson, and the Managing Director for Southern Europe Inter IKEA Centre Group, Richard Vathaire.

3,000 jobs

The project represents an investment of more than €200 million and is due to create over 3,000 jobs.

Loulé Mayor Seruca Emídio told Lusa news agency: “It will be the largest structure of the group on the Iberian Peninsula.”

However, the location of the new centre has been criticised by a Portuguese environmental association.

Quercus claims the project will be built on land that is designated as a National Agricultural Reserve (RAN).

Seruca Emídio said: “I reject any lack of transparency and honesty in this process. The location respects the Municipal Master Plan (PDM) of the area.

“In a time of crisis, we can’t reject such investment that will create many jobs in the region.”

IKEA designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories and is known as the world’s largest furniture retailer.

The premises will be built at Caliços, near the junction of Loulé-Sul and Via do Infante, A22 road.